Three years' jail for Sheffield teen found with 'Russian style' shotgun just months after he was caught dealing Class A drugs

A 17-year-old boy from Sheffield found with a ‘Russian type’ shotgun less than six months after he was caught selling Class A drugs has been jailed for three years.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 16:54 pm
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 14:08 pm
Sheffield Crown Court.

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, committed the first set of offences on December 14 last year, when he was just 16-years-old.

Police officers were called out to Shoreham Street in the city centre, after receiving reports of drugs being dealt near to the Children’s Centre there, prosecutor, Carl Fitch, told Sheffield Crown Court.

“They attended at around 3.40pm and saw the defendant attempting to supply a female with drugs. The defendant and the female ran off, only the defendant ran over a grassed area. He slipped and fell and was detained by officers. He dropped a bag containing wraps of crack cocaine and also had crack cocaine on his person,” said Mr Fitch.

Mr Fitch said the teen was found to have 50 wraps of crack cocaine, which were split into £10 deals, with an estimated street value of £500.

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He was also found to be in possession of two wraps of cocaine with a street value of £20 as well as a knife with a serrated blade, £30 in cash, a mobile phone and eight pieces of paper with a mobile number on it, which is believed to be a ‘drug line’.

The teen had been released under investigation for the knife and drugs matters when he committed his next offence on June 22 this year.

His offending was uncovered after his stepmother called the police to his Sheffield home over damage caused to the property that he was believed to be responsible for.

“Officers attended and went to the garden, where they found a den. They found a knife and a BB gun in a bag. They continued to search and they found the defendant at the bottom, trying to hide,” said Mr Fitch.

Mr Fitch told the court that officers found a ‘Russian-style working shotgun’ that had been shortened to an overall length of 549 millimetres in a bag that was hidden in a hole in the wall.

They also found cartridges for the gun, as well as a discharged cartridge inside one of the barrels of the gun.

The defendant, now aged 17, has previously been convicted of battery, attempted robbery and robbery, and was sent to youth detention for the latter offence after he failed to comply with the conditions of the rehabilitation order he was initially sentenced to.

The teen pleaded guilty to two charges of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, to one count of possessing a knife in a public place and to one count of possessing a firearm during hearings held at earlier dates.

Andrew Smith, defending, said the last 24 months had been a ‘car crash’ for the defendant, during which time he had been ‘exploited’ by, and become ‘trapped’ within, a county lines drug gang.

“It’s largely one of those operations where someone making a considerable amount of money gets others, far more vulnerable than himself, to sell drugs. He’s exploited this young man, and no doubt, others like him,” Mr Smith said.

He described the defendant as a young man who ‘thinks he knows best,’ but said he had expressed a ‘degree of recognition’ about being exploited to the author of his pre-sentence report.

Mr Smith continued: “This should have been brought to court within weeks so the criminal justice system could have intervened to keep the defendant out of trouble and stop him from re-offending.”

He said the defendant did not receive any ‘comeback’ after police seized the drugs they found him with, because the ‘Mr Big’ behind the county lines gang gave him the firearm to store instead.

“The rationale being that young men involved in this kind of offence, well nothing’s going to happen to them,” said Mr Smith.

Judge Sarah Wright sentenced the defendant to three years in a young offenders’ institute.

“You do, to some extent, choose to be involved with this sort of lifestyle, although you were clearly criminally exploited. It’s concerning that in your pre-sentence report, you seemed to see nothing wrong with dealing drugs and carrying a knife for your own protection,” said Judge Wright.

She added: “I hope you’re beginning have some sort of realisation about the harm this kind of behaviour can cause.”

Judge Wright ordered the forfeiture of the weapons, drugs and drug paraphernalia seized from the defendant.